Killington voters consider plan to enable resort growth

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 6:09 PM EST
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KILLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Voters in one Vermont ski town are being asked on this Town Meeting Day to lay the groundwork for more development in their community.

“We’ve been preparing for this day for several months now,” Killington Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth said.

Hagenbarth isn’t talking about a powder day on the mountain but a vote on Article 5 on Town Meeting Day. Article 5 proposes $47 million in infrastructure improvement to be funded through tax increment financing or TIF. The plan calls for rebuilding the busy Killington Access Road and laying new municipal water lines.

“The fact is, is the TIF process became available to us just over a year ago, where we actually qualified and... it’s turned out to be the right time to be in the position that we are,” Hagenbarth said.

James Haff, the zoning administrator and a town select board member, says it’s part of a plan called Killington Forward.

“The vote gets us the opportunity to move forward,” Haff said.

With approval and the work on the municipal water infrastructure, it gives opportunities for the Killington Ski Resort to expand.

“We think this is the next logical step in the evolution of the town,” said Mike Solimano of the Killington Resort.

The plans would include adding workforce housing and a ski village built by a third-party company called Great Gulf.

“We have arguably one of the best mountains on the East Coast and people love coming here. But we don’t have a lot of great lodging options. Some of our competitors have a lot more of that. People want to really be close to the mountain, so that’s really going to help,” Solimano said.

“We are providing the infrastructure to make all of these things possible. That’s what the TIF district will do,” Hagenbarth said.

People in the town I talked with say they are voting in favor of Article 5.

“I was a little skeptical at first,” said Bill Petrics of Killington. “It’s not going to benefit me directly, but it’s going to benefit the town.”

“I’m going to vote for it but it’s what is needed to progress the town,” said Debra Burke of Killington.

Financing for TIF districts is repaid by the property taxes on future development. So the town says the project will have no added cost to taxpayers.